How to Keep Track of Booking Speaking Gigs

In a discussion group for speakers, someone recently asked the question:

What has helped you the MOST at booking speaking gigs?

Now, you may be reading this post as an author thinking to yourself I don’t have to book speaking gigs! but every author appearance you make, whether it’s at a conference, in a bookstore, with a book discussion group, etc. is, in its own way, a speaking gig whether you’re getting paid to do it or not.

It took me a while to ease into a system of booking speaking gigs that worked for me and was repeatable with my clients.

Here’s the response that I gave to the question.

This may sound like a silly response, but I mean it in all seriousness… I come across all sorts of opportunities, and for a long time, I pursued them by the seat of my pants.

When I stepped back, set up a CRM, added all the conferences I was interested in (including their dates and locations), reached out to organizers to find out when submissions opened, noted that info in the CRM, set tasks in the CRM to remind me to make contact, created templates for the gist of what I wanted to say (that would, of course, be customized to the individual I was sending it to), etc. Things really became much easier.

Every month, I could go into the CRM, see who I needed to reach out to, etc. I knew what my process was for approaching conferences I wanted to speak at, and I followed it. Having a tool and a process made all the difference in the world AND allowed me to delegate the outreach when I was so inclined.

So, what’s a CRM you might ask?

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager system.

There are plenty of them out there. Some are online. Some are software you use on your computer. There are apps as well.

Zoho CRMSome are free. Others are premium.

They all offer different features, so it’s important to figure out exactly what you want the system to do for you.

Personally, I use Zoho CRM.

It’s free for up to 10 users on your account. You can customize it to collect your leads the way you want, and it integrates nicely with other applications.

I can define templates for reaching out to my “leads” (in this case, event organizers, association contacts, bookstore owners, discussion group leaders, podcast hosts, etc.).

So, once the CRM is configured the way I want it, here’s what I do.

For each conference I’m interested in pursuing, I create a “lead.” Here’s what my customized blank lead page looks like.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM

I capture as much information as I can about the conference. When I first start, it may be minimal information. For example, for the example below, I couldn’t readily find an email address, but I did locate the phone number. So I recorded that.

As long as I have some kind of contact information (or a form), it’s a good start for a lead.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM

I always use the Description field to capture something from the conference description, whether it’s a mission statement, promo copy, etc. That way I have a quick reminder as to the focus of the conference and what it considers important.

The saved record also has other information I can capture further down the page. So, if you scroll down you see this.

Create a lead in Zoho CRM - lower half

My next step is to add any notes I want to make regarding what I’ve found out about the conference, and what I think might be a good offer for the event planner. This saves me having to try to remember what I’d planned to do with this particular conference later on.

After that, I create a new task.

For this particular conference, I found it too late to bother the event organizer for this year’s conference. It’s later this week!

As a courtesy, I don’t want to contact them next week either. They need a chance to recover from all that’s gone into this year’s conference first.

But I can guarantee you, within the next two months, they’ll already be starting to think next year’s conference if this is an annual event. So, that’s an ideal time for me to reach out and ask about next year’s submission guidelines.

Therefore, I set a task for myself to follow up on this lead.

Create a task in Zoho CRM

At that time, I’ll come back into this record and send an email, using one of my pre-defined templates, to request information on their conference submission guidelines. Since the message is already written, I only have to customize minor portions of it to make it applicable to this particular conference. So, the outreach only takes a few minutes.

I’ll update this lead record with new information as I get it, so that it becomes as comprehensive and robust as possible, making future outreach that much easier.

When I find out the submission requirements for the event, I’ll set another task for myself, with the appropriate due date, and come back here to send another templated email that contains my proposed talk topic and a link to my speakers one-sheet and audio samples. I’ll also include one or two endorsements from other event planners I’ve worked with recently.

Using a CRM in this way allows me to create a repeatable process that I can hand off to a virtual assistant or tackle quickly one at a time as time allows. Each month, I can go in, look at the outreach I’d planned to do that month, and do it quickly right from within the system.

When it comes to sending emails to my contacts for speaking engagements, I prefer to do it directly from Zoho so that the outreach is recorded there. However, any responses I receive will come directly into my normal email client. So I don’t have to worry about missing anything.

Having a tool and process in place is essential for being proactive about booking speaking engagements and author appearances. It ensures that you do the right thing at the right time with a minimal amount of effort. It can’t get any easier!

 

Nobody Cares About Your Book! Media Training Insights from TJ Walker

TJ Walker is the host of the #1 rated YouTube Channel devoted to Daily Public Speaking and Media Training Improvement, and a prolific fellow instructor on Udemy.icon

Media Training icon

Media Training for Authors: Promote Your Book in the News

I recently came across a course of his that’s geared specifically to helping authors find and prepare for media appearances. It’s called “Media Training for Authors: Promote Your Book in the News.”icon

Of course, from the author’s perspective, media appearances are about selling more books. Right?

TJ is quick to affirm that if you approach the media from that standpoint, you’re going to get nowhere fast.

Nobody cares about your book!

At least, not anyone beyond you or your family and friends.

So, how do you go about securing media appearances when your ultimate goal is to sell more books?

TJ advises in this course that you don’t make it about the book. Make it about the knowledge and expertise that you have to offer to the media outlet and their audience.

I could say a lot of the standard boilerplate stuff about what makes for a good course here. Insert it all. It applies! The production quality is good. The presenter knows his material. He has all the bases covered in terms of what you’d need to know to successfully pull off your first media appearance. It’s all right there.

What makes this course so good?

What I especially liked about TJ’s content was that he designed the course to be more than just a series of lectures with associated quizzes. Instead, he invites, nay, urges, you to stop the videos and practice what he’s just taught.

The only way to improve your on-screen experiences is to practice being on-screen. So, he gives you a variety of exercises to do through which you grow and learn how to become more appealing to media producers. He’ll even provide feedback on your video if you post it in the discussion area.

TJ also teaches you about finding a hook that captures the attention of producers and appeals to their sense of curiosity. These creative news hooks make it easier for you to get what you ultimately want, which is the exposure that a particular media outlet can give you and your book.

Since publishing this post, TJ has offered my readers
an exclusive discount on his course!
Normally priced at $297, you can buy it for just $9!

Buy Now button - https://alewebsocial.com

You’re not always going to be able to work the book into your interview. There will be times when the most you can hope for is the “soft sell” that goes along with having your book mentioned in your bio for the show. But that’s okay. It’s another piece of content that adds to the publicity of who you are and what you’re about.

One of the key take-aways of the media training course was that producers aren’t going to care so much about your authorship as they do about your expertise.

Now, for non-fiction writers, hopefully you’ve written a book that taps into your area of expertise and your media appearances can easily be pointed back to your book.

When it comes to fiction authors, your expertise may be less closely related to the subject of your book. Perhaps it’s about a specific time-period (the one in which your book is set) or about a given marketing strategy.

Regardless, the media is going to be more interested in your expertise, so figure out what that is and how to clearly communicate it to the producers you reach out to.

The more you make your expertise available to the producers and valuable to them, the more likely they are to mention your book. But it has to be about them and their needs first.

This is just one of the many valuable things TJ has to share in this course. He’s been training people to become better speakers and make the media impact they desire since 1984. So he’s not just some fly-by-night “expert” who decided to post a course on Udemy to see what happens.

He backs his course with his own personal guarantee.

If you take the course, consume all the media training content, and do the exercises that he sets out for you to do, and you still haven’t seen the results you’re after, he will give you one full day of his personal coaching for free. That’s essentially a $10,000 guarantee (the cost of a full day of one-on-one coaching with him).

Of course, you have to put in the work. You have to watch the course, do the exercises, follow through on what he tells you to do. But if, after all of that, you’re still not “getting it,” he’ll help you figure it out.

How’s that for a guarantee?

And, if you have questions at any time during the course, just post your question and he will create a video response for you. The sad thing, in my opinion, is how few people are actually taking advantage of his offer thus far! There are currently 1854 people enrolled in the course, but only 2 or 3 people have actually posted a question asking for feedback.

So, what does the course cover?

TJ teaches you how to:

  • look your best on TV
  • prepare your messaging
  • answer questions
  • speak in sound bites
  • eliminate nerves
  • determine if your interview was effective
  • conduct satellite interviews
  • avoid the top three media mistakes
  • how to avoid saying “um” and “uh”

… and more!icon

Media Training for Authors” consists of over 100 lectures (13.5 hours of content!), as well as bonus interviews with publishing legend Dan Poynter, and access to 5 of TJ’s books on public speaking and media training. And if you buy this course using my special coupon code “taraisgreat,” it’s only $9!

Or you can become the media yourself…

He even gets into how to “become the media” if you’re interested in taking that approach to creating publicity. His position is, the more media exposure you get, the easier it is to sell books.

I asked my friend and NYT best-selling author, Jeffrey Hayzlett, whether he agreed that creating your own media works effectively, since he hosts the C-Suite TV Show “Mind Your Own Business,” and his response was:

“If you want to sell books, the best thing to do is have an engaged community. Now if that is your own show—with lots of viewersthen yes. A mailing list of fans and friends, a social media network where you share and have folks interacting. Then all other activations are a big plus—getting on TV, RADIO, REVIEWS, podcasts, book signings—ALL of it.  BUT its only good if you activate it to a network or engaged community.”

Could it get any easier?

TJ’s course isn’t going to teach you how to create that engaged community, but it is going to show you how to come off looking and sounding your best, and that’s a great place to start. I highly recommend that you buy your copy now!

And, hey… While you’re at it, you may find my own LinkedIn Masteryicon courses effective in helping you build that engaged community. Just enter the coupon code “MediaTraining” in any of my courses to receive a discounted price.

Remembering What It’s All About

A friend shared a video on Facebook this morning that I found particularly inspiring. Although she shared it in the context of a responsibility that speakers have, the same message applies to authors, to coaches, to artists and to those who stand in a public spotlight sharing their thoughts and ideas with the world, in whatever medium them use.

For some creatives, we get caught up in the process of creating. Passion for our art fulfills and sustains us, and that’s enough.

The problem is, that’s a very self-focused view of what we do.

For other creatives, there’s the ego-boost that comes with having our work recognized, whether through awards or rampant sales.

And once again, it’s a very self-focused view.

That’s not to say that we ignore the business aspects of what we do, because we do need to earn a living in order to keep creating. There’s no two ways about it, unless you’re independently wealthy already.

However, we also have a responsibility. And the success of our business and the reception of our message, no matter what form it takes, can only be assured when we remember who we’re doing it all for.

If I cook a meal that looks delicious, but tastes awful, what have I accomplished?

We need to always remember the experience that we’re giving our audience. They are our customer, whether they’re paying for the experience or not.

It doesn’t matter if, as a speaker, I have an audience of 2 people or 2,000. I have to give the same performance and imbue my delivery with the same energy, because those 2 people deserve my very best.

Quality counts.

I don’t care if you’re self-publishing a book, choreographing a dance piece, giving a presentation at work, performing on TV, coaching a new client, or whatever other unique skill and talent you have to share with the world.

[Tweet “Whatever you do, remember that you have a responsibility to do it well. – @eandtsmom”]

If you don’t take that responsibility seriously, you may as well not do it at all. Or at least, don’t try to build a business around it.

If it’s about you, it’s a hobby. If it’s about the person who’s going to experience what you have to offer, you’ve got a business.

Care to see the video that got me all fired up today? 🙂

Jamie Fox and Steve Harvey

Taking the Mystery Out of Image File Types

We all know the benefits of using images and video in our social content. And then there’s the question of what to use in eBooks, presentations, on our websites, in blog posts and more.

I’ve recently begun teaching myself how to use Pixlr to do some of my own image editing and save my graphic designer’s time for things that absolutely require his talent.

So the question kept coming up for me. Which image file type should I be saving things as?

I tried asking my designer, but I have to admit… This is something that gets those guys jacked up, and I was lost after just a few sentences…

However, when you need it, the answer comes, right? [Read more…]

An Interview with Larry Williams, Originator of the B-Sides Methodology

Larry Williams, author of Develop Your B-SidesThis month’s Featured Author is Larry Williams, a respected veteran journalist and professional speaker who shares a passion for offering cutting-edge ideas in business and personal growth that challenge conventional thinking. I especially enjoy how Larry blends his love of the music industry with his passion for helping people uncover the untapped talent they have within them.

Although Larry and I have never met in person (not even on Skype yet!), I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Larry a bit on Facebook. We met through the National Speakers Association Facebook group, and connected as friends there as well. So, when Larry started sharing about the release of his third book, Develop Your B-Sides, I definitely wanted to hear more.

Here’s what Larry had to say… [Read more…]

11 Reasons Why Writing a Book is Good for Business

Emerald Lake Books logoHave you ever wondered how to make a bigger impact than you already have?

For many business professionals, time is the rate-limiting factor. You can only connect with so many people in a given number of hours. So how do you take things to the next level?

Well, there are a number of different ways.

Speaking is one of them, and something I do a lot of and enjoy, but it’s not for everyone.

Creating videos is another. Video content is easy to share, simple to create, and has the potential to make a viral impact, but it requires some technical ability.

Blogging is another means of connecting with more people with less effort, yet it requires steady website traffic.

So there’s no one magic bullet. You’re better off if you try to implement a mixture of all of these.

But there’s one more thing I’d recommend, assuming you have it in you. There’s writing a book.

Not everyone is cut out to be an author. It’s time-consuming, hard work and can take months or even years to pay for itself.

However, for those who do take up the challenge, writing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Here are some of my top reasons why I think becoming an author is good for business. [Read more…]

How to Host a Successful Online Video Event

For book promotion, or when engaging in author promotion of any sort, one of the best ways to keep some buzz around your name is through an online speaking event.

Videoconferencing has grown in leaps and bounds since the old days of awkward, clunky meetings on unreliable, shaky technology. New platforms provide authors and speakers the ability to truly engage instead of just speaking, and this is great, whether your video event allows you to join a small book discussion group or speak at a large virtual conference.

Follow this guide to making your online event a success.

Treat online events with the same seriousness and formality that you would a live, in-person event.

Google+ and Google Authorship

Often overlooked as an off-brand, second-tier social media network, Google+ is definitely something to be considered by authors. If you’re not a part of it, get started by signing up for Google Authorship.

The Google Authorship program does more than any other online tool to help with branding, author promotion, book promotion, etc.

When you are enrolled in the Authorship program, Google starts assessing the online content you create to determine your influence. As your readers become more engaged with your content, and as you develop stronger expertise in your field, Google starts to weight your content as being influential (and, by extension, you!). This can have a significant impact on how optimized your content is for the search engine.

While it only takes a few minutes to set up, it can be the difference between relative online obscurity and starting to gain more visibility. [Read more…]

An Interview with Jim Stovall, An Extraordinary Man

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Jim Stovall’s. I read his book recently, The Millionaire Map, and it became my inspiration for this Featured Author series, among other things I’m planning for 2014.

Front Cover_Millionaire Map_Jim StovallI’ve already reviewed his book on this blog, and I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of your own to consume. (If you’re interested in possibly winning a copy, read to the end!)

Now I figured it’s time to introduce you to the man himself too so that you can see just how incredibly extraordinary he is. I think you’ll agree that the map Jim is able provide is one many of us would like to follow in one regard or another!

Despite being blind, Jim Stovall has been a National Olympic weightlifting champion, a successful investment broker, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is the author of 25 books, including the bestseller, The Ultimate Gift, which is now a major motion picture from 20th Century Fox starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin. Four of Mr. Stovall’s other novels have also been made into major motion pictures.

Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes magazine, says, “Jim Stovall is one of the most extraordinary men of our era.” [Read more…]

Incorporating Holiday Events into Your Social Media Campaign

Today’s guest post is from Craig Robinson, an online writer for Qwaya, a facebook ad campaign tool. He loves to write different topics about social media tips and strategies. Besides writing, he also enjoys engaging with different communities and social forums. Be sure to follow him on twitter @Craig_Qwaya.

 

Aleweb Social Marketing - Social Media Christmas TreeThe mass expansion of social media has opened a lot of doors to individuals looking to make an impact with their brand through public speaking.

Whether you refer to it as the speaker community, the lecture circuit, or any other name, this is an old-school method of reaching an audience that dates back to Rome, with would-be Senators speaking to crowds in alleys about issues.

Today, of course, public speaking is incredibly modern and interactive.

Even though sites like Facebook and YouTube make it possible for public speakers to reach a much larger audience, it can still be quite difficult to attract a lot of people to an event.

The larger overall audience is a huge plus for any speaker. Though, for many authors and other solo speakers, a large live audience is what ultimately pays the bills. Below, we will look at a few different ways to turn that online following into an increase in live attendance for a holiday event. [Read more…]

Do the Holidays Get You Down?

Two years ago, I was sitting at the Thanksgiving table feeling resentful because no one else seemed to get how much pain I was in. I wasn’t thankful. I didn’t want to celebrate. Less than a month before, I’d found out that my fiancé was dead.

Yet, because I was always the hostess, the expectation was that I would be fine doing with everything this year too. I wasn’t! I was hurting. I’d lost someone I loved less than a month before, and was still waiting to be able to bury him.

But it wasn’t just Frank’s death that overwhelmed me. It was coming this close to my dream of having someone to share my life with after so long spent alone, and having it snatched away. I was dealing with grief, feelings of betrayal, hurt that loved ones just didn’t seem to understand, confusion, and so much more.

Maybe you know someone who is hurting over the loss of a loved one right now, or that is struggling with some other loss. Or perhaps you know someone who needs to escape the trap of shame, low self-esteem, abuse, poor health or other seemingly insurmountable challenges?

[Read more…]